English - Reading and Writing
At Ridgeway Farm it is our intent to nurture and develop the whole child. We strive for all of our children to be Primary Literate Pupils. The overarching aim for English in the national curriculum is to promote high standards of language and literacy by equipping pupils with a strong command of the spoken and written word, and to develop their love of literature through widespread reading for enjoyment.
- We are extremely proud of our school library. All children visit the library regularly with their teachers to read and exchange books.
- We aim to engage our children by using a range of high-quality texts as the stimulus to their learning.
- We aim to provide purposeful and meaningful writing opportunities for all our children.
- We aim to develop children’s moral, social and cultural understanding through high quality texts that represent our community.
- We value the importance of talk, therefore, children will begin by orally retelling and exploring language in EYFS.
- By the end of year 6 we aim for the children to have become confident, creative writers who can write coherently for a range of purposes and audiences and are able to apply grammar and spelling rules.
At Ridgeway Farm the English curriculum is taught using a variety of resources to engage children and enhance learning, the most important of these being high quality, challenging texts that link with other curriculum areas.
The curriculum is constantly evolving to illustrate this and the Subject Leader and school staff constantly look for new texts to support the curriculum and development of skills. We prioritise time daily to read to children to further develop their love of reading and model reading for pleasure and enjoyment, developing vocabulary and feeding pupils’ imagination and joy for curious young minds.
Links are made to other areas of the curriculum through cross-curricular writing, performance poetry, debate, reading and the use of computing to write, publish and communicate in a variety of ways.
Teaching blocks focus on fiction, non-fiction or poetry, in line with the 2014 National Curriculum. We ensure children are taught to write to entertain, inform, persuade and argue through a rich variety of writing outcomes.
Lesson sequences themselves build progressively towards an extended piece of writing and children are exposed to examples and modelled writing to support them. Teachers plan opportunities for children to apply their writing skills across the curriculum.
Assessment for Learning is embedded in lessons and children are active in editing and revising their work and responding to feedback to improve their work. Weekly spelling lessons teach explicit spelling rules and key words. The children follow our Handwriting Policy whereby they begin with mark making and for and then progress to develop a cursive handwriting script.
As a result of our English curriculum, we have children who are developing their confidence and enthusiasm as readers and writers who enjoy showcasing their developing English knowledge and skills. They are confident to ‘have a go’ and love to discuss and share their ideas both in class and to a wider audience.
“I have a passion for teaching kids to become readers, to become comfortable with a book, not daunted. Books shouldn’t be daunting, they should be funny, exciting and wonderful; and learning to be a reader gives a terrific advantage.” Roald Dahl
- We aim to enable our pupils to read confidently, fluently, accurately and with understanding
- We aim to encourage a love of reading and an appreciation of books from a variety of genres and to foster an interest in words and their meanings
- We aim to enable the children to read with discernment and to evaluate and justify their preferences.
- We aim to develop a suitable technical vocabulary through which to understand and discuss their reading
- We aim to develop reading skills in tandem with those of writing, so that they may function in society, as literate adults and readers for life
- We aim to create reading opportunities across all areas of the curriculum, to make it more meaningful and relevant to the children
Reading lies at the heart of the curriculum at Ridgeway Farm. We are dedicated to enabling our pupils to become lifelong readers and we believe reading is key for academic success.
We aim to:
- Develop an interest in and a love of books, encouraging children to become attentive listeners, independent and reflective readers.
- Develop reading strategies and skills, accuracy, fluency, understanding and response to texts.
- Develop the ability to use and manipulate a variety of texts, both fiction and nonfiction.
- Develop children’s experiences through a variety of text including the use of libraries, I pads, laptops and other available media.
Early Reading (Word reading)
To ensure that every child in our school will learn to read we ensure we:
- Use one synthetic phonics programme from YR to Y2: We use Floppy Phonics to teach phonics and graphic knowledge (common exception words and tricky words). We have fidelity to this one scheme.
Using this programme, we are confident that:
- grapheme/phoneme (letter/sound) correspondences are taught a clearly defined, incremental sequence;
- we introduce children very early on to a defined initial group of consonants and vowels, enabling them to read and spell as soon as possible many simple CVC words;
- children are taught the highly important strategy of blending phonemes in order, all through a word, to read it;
- children are taught to apply the skills of segmenting words into their constituent phonemes to spell; blending and segmenting are reversible processes;
- Multi-sensory activities used are interesting and engaging but firmly focused on intensifying the learning associated with its phonic goal.
Reading books in EYFS and Year 1 match our Floppy Phonics phonics programme. Children are taught specific phonemes/ graphemes and then have access to the equivalent books that reinforce the phonics that have been explicitly taught. They also have access to a specific band of books that they can choose from to take home. These books have been carefully banded to support and reinforce the phonics taught.
Our core reading scheme is the Oxford Reading Tree, where pupils (and parents) quickly become familiar with the ongoing adventures of Biff, Chip and Kipper and their ‘Magic Key’. However, this is augmented throughout the school with a broad range of other books appropriate to the age of the children. The Oxford Reading Tree scheme supports children in their independent reading. We have a wide range of texts for children to access to support them in finding their love of learning.
While the staff will still hear children read individually where appropriate, much of the formal teaching of reading throughout the school is delivered through our ‘Book Talk’ sessions:
Whole Class Reading is one component of the shared reading block during which the teacher provides support for readers. The teacher helps children learn to use reading strategies, such as context clues, letter and sound knowledge, and syntax or word structure, as they read a text or book that is unfamiliar to them. The goal of our Whole Class Book Talk sessions is for children to use these strategies independently on their way to becoming fluent, skilled readers.
Early Years Foundation Stage
Children are heard read by an adult in school at least once a week. This can take the form of key words, sounds or individual reading books. Sound sheets will be sent home for the children to practise that relate to what they have been learning in class. In addition, there are daily phonic sessions and timetabled whole class story times throughout the day.
Children are heard read at least once a week by an adult at school. Lower ability children will experience more often individual reading with a member of staff in order to monitor their progress. Children are read to regularly throughout the school day. There are also daily phonic sessions.
Year 2 – Year 6
Children are encouraged to read often and books are exchanged weekly. Reading Record books are signed by any adult who has heard the child read. Children will be heard to read at least once a week by an adult, they may be heard read by other adults such as teaching assistants or parent helpers. Whole Class Reading sessions are a part of daily classroom practice; comprehension activities and reading for pleasure are encouraged in order to foster a love for reading. We use ‘Teach Hub’ to support our planning and choice of high quality texts for whole class reading. We use agreed symbols and language with the children based on the reading strategies they will be using within the teaching sessions.
At certain points throughout the year (Autumn, Spring and Summer) each class will undergo a formal assessment for Reading –NFER. The NFER tests look at all aspects of reading across a fiction, non-fiction and poetry text. Teachers use the results from the formal assessment as well as their ongoing assessment to organise interventions and adapt their teaching.
The impact of the reading emphasis and teaching at Ridgeway Farm will be…
- High progress measures from a child’s initial reading ability
- Y1 Phonic Screening Check pass rates
- High levels of comprehension and vocabulary development
- High levels of engagement in the books children read
- The ability to read across a range of subjects
- A fostering of reading for pleasure